Nkomeshya, Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust complain over Lusaka forest pollution

THE Busoli Royal Establishment and Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust have requested the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Land and Natural Resources to inspect the Chalimbana River and Headwaters and Local Forest Reserve number 27 in Lusaka East. Senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamabo II has requested the Parliamentary Committee to see and experience first-hand the destruction of Chalimbana Headwaters, which is the Forest Reserve 27 and pollution of the river by ZAF Twin Palm and subsequent suffering of her subjects.

Effluent from the developments in the area discharges into Chalimbana river.

Chieftainess Nkomeshya explained that the pollution was an abuse of human rights, which was a direct result of the destructive activities upstream of the Chalimbana River.

Earlier this year, the Busoli Royal Establishment and Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust petitioned government to stop developments in the local Forest Reserve number 27 in Lusaka East.

Represented by Princess Cholwe Nkomeshya and over 20 headmen, the Royal Establishment asked Minister of Water Development, Supply and Environmental Protection Dennis Wanchinga to stop sewage discharge into Chalimbana River by Zambia Air Force Twin Palm.

They complained to Wanchinga that the stop order that was issued by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to Kingsland City Project had not been enforced.

The Royal Establishment and Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust further requested President Edgar Lungu to acknowledge and respond to the petition delivered to him by the people in 2017.

And Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust Secretary Robert Chimambo said the protection of ground water has been an article of faith by all past administration.

He said protection of ground water was important.
He explained that Lusaka East stands as a water tank as it supplies the commodity that is being consumed in Lusaka and surrounding areas.

“Protection of ground water has been very important and even after we got our independence, you will notice from 1964, they almost maintained the same system of ground water protection. Where we are in Lusaka East, that area is what we would call a water tank…the current study, I don’t know Honourable Minister if they have availed you the water supply, it is showing how that area is critical. All the water we are drinking all the way up to Mwembeshi, up to Chilanga is coming from that area. Forest reserves have formed a cardinal strategy for preserving that water but unfortunately in 1983, those systems of forest reserves for the first time they degazetted, the Kaunda government at that time, but it was for a purpose…they wanted to cut off a piece for national security interest but unfortunately, a Pandora box was opened. Forest 27, where our Chalimbana River comes from, with only 32 km stretch, it feeds all the way to Mukankaula area,” Chimambo said.

“Land use has now been changed and now they are going to put septic tanks. We have seen that a portion of the reserve was once again degazzetted and they were sharing it. This is when we engaged your ministry, our colleagues in WARMA and they advised that under the Act, the Minister, even if that portion has been degazzeted, can actually declare it protected under the Water Resources Management Act…. That in brief is why we are here to see if Minister you can declare a portion of that place protected again. What is happening now is that land use has changed and they are now going to put septic tanks, which now will pollute ground water. We see now that on Twin Palm, a massive housing complex is coming up, and again all the laws, town and country planning, ZEMA, WARMA, all the laws that stop that happening have been thrown overboard. ZEMA even issued a stop order, to stop those people from building but they have continued…that forest reserve has all been shared and the shocking part is that the Commissioner of Lands is issuing title deeds. The people that are affected, drinking the faecal matter, toilet cleaner, dish washing liquid and are even fishing, that fish which is contaminated, which is casinogenic in our people,” said Chimambo.

Vice-President Inonge Wina, Chief Justice Irene Mambilima and lands minister Jean Kapata are some of the high profile beneficiaries of land in Forest Reserve number 27 in Lusaka East.

According to the ground rent bill from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Vice-President Wina is a beneficiary of property number LUSAK/LN_52062/100.

Chief Justice Mambilima is the owner of property number LUSAK/LN_52062/97 given to her for agriculture purposes while Kapata has been allocated property number LUSAK/LN_52062/38, also for agriculture purposes.
Other beneficiaries are Harry Findlay, Douglas Msimuko, Derrick Mpundu and Dominic Kaluba.
Findlay is a holder of LUSAK/LN_52062/1, which was allocated under Agriculture use.

And Princess Nkomeshya said the developments coming up in the Lusaka recharge area were a risk to the lives of not only her chiefdom but also the entire Lusaka.
“When we were highlighted honourable minister by the Trust on the issues underpinning this problem, this is the reason we are here Honourable Minister, asking you to help us effect the stop order that was given by ZEMA because it seems it’s being ignored through the issuing of titles to that forest reserve which is supposed to be reserved because it’s indeed the only saviour we have. If our water is affected, everybody is affected and we are appealing to your office minister that you will hear our cry. If we let those developments to go ahead in that forest, it’s not just us the Royal Establishment and the people that are going to be affected as you understand that Lusaka sits on a Dolomite, meaning it’s Limestone and God in His mighty power had put this ground water to help us live and even the borehole water you are enjoying, the people downstream are not because half their water is taken and by June it’s dry. ZAF housing project, Twin Palm and a lot others are coming up and Honourable Minister they are a risk to life,” said Princess Nkomeshya.

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